Living an Independent Life with Assistance: What Are the Activities of Daily Living?

An elderly man sits and talks with his doctor

For most adults, getting ready for the day isn’t something they give much thought to. They get out of bed, walk to the bathroom, use the toilet, brush their teeth, shower, get dressed and comb their hair. No big deal, right? A cup of coffee and a bowl of corn flakes and you’re ready to face the day.

But for many older adults, getting from one room to another or using the bathroom isn’t as easy as it used to be. And it’s likely not a subject they’re happy to discuss without prompting. Ignore the problem, and it could result in a fall that sends them to the hospital. Or no less painful, a withdrawal from activities that make life worth living. That’s why it’s a good idea to know the signs that someone you love is having difficulty with everyday tasks. In health care lingo, they’re called activities of daily Living (ADLs). Understanding ADLs is the first step in helping an older adult get the assistance they need to maintain their independence and quality of life.

Know your ADLs.

The ability to perform activities of daily living is used to help determine the level of care your loved one needs. There are six basic ADLs:

  • Mobility — ability to walk and transfer in and out of a chair or bed
  • Bathing — or showering without assistance
  • Toileting — using the bathroom without assistance
  • Dressing — ability to choose clothes and put them on
  • Eating — ability to eat without assistance
  • Continence — bladder and bowel control

If your loved one is unable to perform these basic ADLs, talk to their doctor about it. There may be an underlying medical issue that can be resolved. Physical therapy or assistive devices that make bathing, transferring or using the toilet easier can help your loved one perform ADLs independently. Home health services are another option if your loved one is happy to stay at home. But there’s more to life than the basic necessities, and that’s where assisted living can offer the help you need, along with programs and services to enrich your loved one’s quality of life.

Assisted living at Meadow Ridge.

Residents are assessed when they move in so they can get a personalized plan to meet their needs. If therapy is recommended, you can get the specialized therapy you need on campus at Ridge Crest Health Center. Our physical therapists can help improve your strength, balance, minimize falls and manage your pain. Our occupational therapists can teach you adaptive strategies to perform daily tasks and maximize your independence.

With a renewed sense of confidence and just the right amount of support, you’ll gain a new lease on an active lifestyle as an assisted living resident at Ridge Crest. We offer a wide variety of social, cultural, spiritual and recreational activities tailored to individual abilities and interests. And we make life easier and more enjoyable with delicious chef-prepared meals, professional housekeeping and laundry services. Private studio and one-bedroom apartment homes give you a space of your own, with access to common rooms, a spacious country kitchen, outside patio, auditorium and heated indoor pool and sauna.

To learn more about the benefits of assisted living versus independent living, read our blog.